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I use Grammarly almost daily for work and I almost feel like I'm cheating at some points, because I can be a total dunce when it comes to the English language and I can simply never trust myself to send any sort of document to a high-ranking executive at the company where I work.
Would members of this site suggest using Grammarly? What is your general opinion of it? Do you believe it is helpful? As I believe a lot of the members on this site are quite invested in the English language, it wouldn't surprise me if they had a negative opinion of it because it enables people to cheat their way into job interviews and other similar situations when ultimately they'd be unqualified.
Through my experience in human resources, I've encountered many seemingly illiterate people who nevertheless provided perfectly worded CVs. I've certainly found this to be interesting over the years.

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    This really isn't the kind of question we answer here, because it calls for speculation and the exercise of personal opinion unencumbered by definitive citations. I've voted to send this to our Meta site, where discussions like this get thrashed out all the time. – Robusto May 10 at 2:43
  • @Conrado Ah sorry, not all too familiar with this type of forum haha. – Ethan May 10 at 15:06
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    I think the consensus on Grammarly -ads- on Youtube is that they are pervasive. – Mitch May 12 at 14:01
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    If you like it and have no problem with it then use it. I don't find it helpful personally, but I'm an expert. I think they are appealing to folks who feel anxious about their socioeconomic status and don't want to appear "uneducated" (= "poor" = "minority") in writing, lest they be judged by their betters and found wanting. The solution is not to have any linguistic betters. If you're a native speaker, you're already at the top. – John Lawler May 12 at 18:22
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Unless you used Grammarly to help you with your post, I see no evidence that you are "a total dunce when it comes to the English language". Quite the contrary. In any case, if using Grammarly is cheating then so is having someone proofread your writing - which is always a good idea with high-stake texts like CVs.

Now to the question about the general consensus on Grammarly on this site. It seems that those with high reputations do not use it and make negative comments on grammar checkers in general, including the one provided by Microsoft Word. The negativity has nothing to do with cheating, but with the often very questionable or simply wrong advice given by the checker software.

Here you can find an answer to the question Does Grammarly predominantly give the correct use of English? which includes a link to the discussion of the issue by Professor Pullum, co-author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

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How’s your penmanship?  Is your handwriting legible?

What’s that you say?  You type the things you write on a keyboard?  Is that ‘cheating’?


If you’re applying for a job where you cannot use Grammarly (or a similar tool), like a press secretary or a spokesperson, where you need to be able to make ad-hoc statements in a grammatical way, then it does seem a little deceptive to use it to prepare your résumé — although your skill with improvised speech should still be revealed by an interview.  Otherwise, it’s fair to showcase the work you can do when you have the appropriate tools.  (Would you expect a carpenter or a plumber to demonstrate how well they can do their job with bare hands?)

I have never seen Grammarly in use (other than the demo in the incessant advertisements).  I use Microsoft Word.  I don’t follow its grammar suggestions blindly, because they’re often wrong.  But I always look at them, because sometimes they’re right; so they are helpful to me.  I guess that Grammarly is no worse.

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  • +1 for the bare hands metaphor. I also agree that the only way it would be cheating is if the job required you to create grammatical constructions without mechanical aid (or a dictionary, for that matter... I almost always consult a dictionary when I write even a letter to my sister). – Conrado Jun 13 at 14:06
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Some people have a mental block about proofreading, because they see what they meant to type, not what is on the screen. Using a mechanical aid to help with that is not a moral failing.

The grey area starts when you slavishly obey a grammar checker about things you didn't realise were problems. Grammarly is more sophisticated than the original MS Word feature everyone disabled 20 years ago – it won't make your text wrong – probably – but it is prescriptive, and basic, and it can undermine your confidence in how you mean to express yourself.

For learners, I imagine it is useful to have a textbook that magically looks things up for you. But underneath the slick software, that's all Grammarly is: an intermediate-level textbook. It can't give you the style guidance you'd get from Strunk & White, or the Talmudic detail of the Chicago manual, or the expressive ability that comes from being confident in your own voice.

If you are writing to consistent 100% approval from Grammarly, then your writing is likely anodyne, and you would be doing everyone a favor by moving on. If you need the mechanical proofreading help, I'd suggest at least writing first, then pasting to Grammarly, rather than letting it carp at you while you type. Or just work at better proofreading habits.

tl;dr I doubt anyone posting on this forum has bad enough English to get $130/year worth of improvement from Grammarly, and most are good enough writers that it could make them worse.

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